Lucky house prices

Here’s an interesting tidbit on the least significant digits of house prices.

In Nevada, the last non-zero number in the selling price of a house is a lucky seven 37 percent more often than in the rest of the country. 777 is used three times more often than in the rest of the country. … In neighborhoods with a majority of Asian people, the asking price for homes ends in the lucky number eight 20 percent of the time, compared with 4 percent in other neighborhoods.

From “While we’re at it” by David Mills, First Things, January 2013.

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2 comments on “Lucky house prices
  1. bk says:

    I suspect that Mr Mills is reading from the Trulia real estate blog, which has many more examples and more detail: http://pro.truliablog.com/industry-2/your-homes-lucky-number/

  2. Dave Tate says:

    Deviations from uniformity (or from monotonicity, or other expected distributional shapes) can reveal important and otherwise-hidden processes. My favorite example was when we were doing an independent assessment of a claims-processing organization. Everyone we spoke with thought that the number of parts to a claim was an exogenous input — until we showed them that the histogram of claims by number of parts had spikes at 8, 16, and 24. It turns out that claim adjusters get double credit (in the company’s idiotic work credit system) for claims with 8 or more parts; triple credit for 16 or more; etc.

    The mechanisms by which adjusters can influence the number of parts, to bump 7 up to 8 or 15 up to 16, are weak and subtle — but they are clearly being leveraged to maximum effect.